B-to-B Insights: Are You Going In or Out?
Direct mail has long been considered the "workhorse" of lead-generating B-to-B marketing communications. Ten years ago, I would have rated the lead quality a 4, because postal list selects enable narrow targeting so you can mail only to prospects who fit your ideal customer's profile. I downgraded direct mail lead quality from a 4 to a 3, because lately in B-to-B, I find prospects with more urgent needs respond to electronic or phone marketing, while those whose needs are not as immediate are more likely to mail back a business reply card requesting your catalog, brochure or white paper.
ROI of direct mail-generated leads is a 4, because the leads you do close often make significant purchases in the multiple thousands of dollars. As a rule, you can get 10 percent to 25-plus percent of direct mail leads to take the next step in your buying cycle, whether agreeing to see your rep or sending you a purchase order. Direct mail that works usually generates a positive and significant ROI, producing revenues many times greater than the campaign cost.
E-mail gets a 3 in lead quality. You can target the right prospects. But Internet users often have an element of distrust for e-mail. So a single e-mail isn't going to move prospects very far forward in the buying cycle.
ROI from e-mail is a 5. That's because e-mail marketing is so cheap, even a few orders can yield an ROI equal to many multiples of the promotion cost. When you rent opt-in e-lists, your cost per thousand can be $200 or more. E-mailing your own list, depending on what service you use, is a fraction of a cent per name.
I also gave public relations an ROI rating of 5 because the cost is so minimal that any business generated usually pays for the PR campaign many times over. Lead quality of PR is a 4, because people believe and trust editorial content more than marketing copy.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.